Ratte’s freedom bid fails

2010-10-06 14:17

Rightwinger Willem Ratte and nine men arrested with him last week lost an urgent court bid for their immediate release.

Judge George Webster turned down the 10 men’s application in the Gauteng North High Court in Pretoria for their release, the return of all of their possessions, and an interdict to stop the police from “threatening and intimidating” them.

Ratte and the nine, who all stay in a dormitory on Ratte’s farm Eenzaamheid, were arrested during a police raid on the farm last Thursday.

The raid was ordered after police received information that there was a large number of arms and ammunition on the farm and that people were receiving military training there.

Ratte and the others launched an urgent application for their release the next day, on Friday, but their application was only heard in the high court on Monday.

They have already appeared in the Witbank Magistrates’ Court in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga, in connection with the alleged illegal possession of dagga, firearms and ammunition.

Their attorney, Daan Mostert, said they would probably apply for bail when they appeared in the magistrates court again next Monday.

Unlawful arrest
The 10 applicants alleged they had been arrested unlawfully, but Webster found that their arrest had been lawful.

He said it was common cause that unlicensed firearms were found on the premises that belonged to persons other than the applicants.

A sniffer dog discovered a dagga plantation on the farm and police seized two laptops and cellphones for further forensic investigation.

The arresting officer, Warrant Officer Joseph Mahlangu, said in an affidavit that the men may be charged with treason once the investigation against them had been completed.

Mahlangu said he had to arrest all of them because arrested persons tended to turn around and point the finger at others as being in the illegal possession of firearms, dagga and ammunition.

Webster said it had not been necessary for the arresting officer to consider the explanations of each individual with regard to the possession of the firearms.

“The police was (sic) permitted to arrest all of them on the discovery of the firearms. It would have been impractical to get an explanation from each of them about their reasons for the possession,” the judge said.

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